Business phones

RIM – what is there to say?

RIM is being sold to one of its existing shareholders who will take it private and in theory reshape the business away from the public glare. The same is happening, or trying to happen, at Dell. Nokia is being bought by Microsoft. All three brands may well fade away into the distance.

Shed no tears. Shit happens. Move on. We live in a very fluid world where aside from technological advances that can in theory be forecast because of historical trends – Moores Law etc – nobody can really predict the future. It takes remarkable vision to be able to move with the times, especially if you are a huge company – it’s like trying to do a handbrake turn with an oil tanker.

I remember when I worked for Mitel I was in  pub in Kanata and one of the Execs had a Blackberry that he was constantly referring to – a bit like how I am these days with my droid. What went through my mind was “hmm I need one of those”. It was more of a status symbol thing than me wanting to be able to read my emails when in the pub.

Timico gave me a Blackberry in the early days. It didn’t last long. Devices like the Nokia E65 and E71 soon overshadowed it. The E71 was a good phone. Not as good as my SGS4, or the S3 or the S2. It’s all progress innit?

I used to think that the future was all about phones replacing PCs. PCs sales are in decline. Phones and tablets on the up. Maybe I was right. Easy really. However in trying to decide where on earth this thought process (and thus the blog post) is going I’ve realised that phones are probably not the way forward either, at least in the form factor we see today.

The screen on my SGS4 is cracked – happened when it was in my pocket. The casing is chipped and dented – it isn’t an old phone, just not a very robust one. I occasionally leave it places and have to go back looking for it. It has to have access security to stop others using it when they shouldn’t and to protect my personal data.

Surely this is a form of device ripe for obsolescence. Although I poo poo’d the Samsung Gear smart watch maybe that is the form factor that will be where all the action is in future. It won’t be long before technology is such that we will have better processing power in the watch than we have in the handset today. If we want to type we should be able to dig out cheap portable screens/keyboards that hook up with the watch. These could even be disposable or so cheap that they are everywhere and you just have to pick one up and hook your phone.

A phone is less likely to be left somewhere and won’t suffer the same knocks as a handset.

There you go. Maybe people running big brands just need to get back to the basics of what influences people to buy something. Play in the forecastable tech developments and hey presto, you are still in business. Not as easy as that I know but it’s all that’s on offer this morning:)


End User phones

BlackBerry Z10 smartphone comparison with Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone

trefor with blackberry10We have a BlackBerry 10 and have put it through some rudimentary comparisons with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4s1. The iPhone5 may perform differently but I don’t think it hugely matters as the comparisons are not particularly scientific.


  • iPhone4s 38seconds
  • BlackBerry10 79 seconds
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 26 seconds

Galaxy S3 wins hands down but reality is that most people keep their phones on 24×7 and the BlackBerry has to perform a handshake with the BlackBerry Enterprise server so it is no wonder it takes longer. This test is therefore probably not hugely relevant but seeing as we had done it I’m not going to waste the info.

At this point the iPhone4s left the room and we continued testing:

Web browsing

BlackBerry10 ZThe BlackBerry10  is supposed to major on speed of web access and this would appear to be the case. We tested the BB10 versus the SGS3 on two websites. Initially we chose a random site – speciality fasteners and screws – you know it makes sense. Both devices loaded this site in around 6 seconds though there is a lot of room for error in the measurement with this method – clicking on start buttons on timers and also trying to ensure that both of us did it simultaneously on two devices.

We moved on to which gave us a reading as to the speed of our web access – at least for html5. For good measure we also threw in Google chrome running on my laptop.

  • BlackBerry10 485
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 390
  • Chrome on Windows7 448

Higher is better here so at first glance, and with only a small set of comparison points BB10 is, as it claims to be, a fast device for accessing tinterweb.

Couple of videos for your delight and delectation. Firstly Timico Engineer Dean Asher talking about his first impressions of the BB10 which are very good.

The second vid is Dean showing off BlackBerry Flow which does seem to have some very nifty features in allowing you to switch between applications.

All in all the BlackBerry10 is likely to be a device that corporate IT managers can give to their staff that won’t make them complain about its functionality. To a large extent it is going to be all about the timely availability of apps. Time will tell whether the BB10 turns around RIM’s fortunes but it looks like it could give them a sporting chance.

1 I couldn’t find an iPhone5 around the office and not being an Apple fan I don’t care if someone comes along whinging saying that the iPhone5 is much better than the iPhone4s. iPhone5 sales are disappointing the markets anyway and it’s no wonder I couldn’t find anyone with one 😉

Apps Business mobile connectivity security

Big endorsement from RIM re consumerisation of the workplace “problem” #iOS #Android

RIM has announced plans to extend its BlackBerry Enterprise Solution to the support of non RIM devices. This means that Android and Apple phones and tablets will be able to be incorporated in the RIM device management and security environment.

This is a timely announcement and follows a piece1 that I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the problem of consumerisation of the workplace.  RIM also says that it is responding to requests from its enterprise customers and that its target market is enterprises and government organisations.

There is a huge market outside these sectors. RIM has highlighted the problem but by focusing on big business is leaving the door open for others to play in the small and medium sized enterprise space.

It is interesting that RIM does not mention Microsoft in its press release. Presumably it sees Windows as a totally separate/mutually exclusive  environment.  I wouldn’t bet on that.

1 I’m not of course saying that the RIM announcement is in response to my article – we are clearly just thinking along the same lines:)

PS the RIM PR seems to have disappeared from their website for some reason. I happen to still have the copy which I have, for your delight and delectation, replicated below:

Business internet mobile connectivity

Timico buys Handheld PCs

Once upon a time there were fixed line communications and mobile communications. Then the internet raised its hand and believers said Internet Protocol communications will rule, OK. This we all know and in the early days at least the fixed providers were shaking.

Nowadays IP is everywhere. We are bombarded every day with new websites, services and products promising to revolutionise our lives. So much so that I have actually pulled back a yard from experimenting with the latest and greatest. This is because if I let it happen I would spend all my time looking at new services, most of which will never see the light of a second round of funding. These days I let other people’s ideas take proper root before getting interested.

Notwithstanding all this there are some clear trends. Smart Phones and tablets are taking over our lives. I’m particularly surprised at the latter,

Business voip hardware

Ideal mobile VoIP client runs on a Blackberry

  1. Runs on a Blackberry. In my experience Microsoft push email isn’t reliable enough and I am seriously thinking of changing back to RIM
  2. Can call using any available network – wifi, GSM or 3G – deally can detect least cost route or allow you to set preferred network connection
  3. Has the same inbound number as my work desktop phone so I can seamlessly take the same calls wherever I am – this realistically has to be a fixed line number as you have to be a mobile operator to do it otherwise.
  4. Detects the presence status of my friends and allows me to send Instant Messages to any network.
  5. Active directory lookup for corporate users to avoid having to store all the numbers locally.
  6. High definition voice codec available for use on wide bandwidth connections (ie wifi)
  7. High quality speakerphone.
  8. Multiple VoIP subscriptions so that I can have both work and personal services on the same device.
  9. Front and back facing video (I’m not sure whether I’m kidding myself here!)
  10. All the usual touchscreen/music/GPS/integration with Twitter/Facebook and other social networking websites gadgetty stuff.
  11. Unlimited battery life (hey – I did say ideal mobile VoIP client 🙂 )

If anyone wants to add to this list feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

Business mobile connectivity

Blackberry service experiencing technical difficulties

Hot off the press is an alert from RIM saying their Blackberry service BIS/BES is experiencing difficulties.  According to RIM this means that

Customers may not receive new service books
Connect clients and BB enabled devices that require a new PIN may be unable to receive the pin
customers may experience delays in receiving messages and may get an ‘x’ when sending
customers may be unable to register their device i.e. Register Now
customers may not be able to roam in another location
customers may not be able to use internet browsing
Enterprise customers may be unable to connect to the BB network
customers may not be able to access their internet mailbox, integrate their account or view email attachments.

This is a fairly rare occurrence – unofficial poll around the office suggests once a year – but when it does happen it affects a lot of people. The alternative is to use your own push email but in my experience that is actually less reliable.

All I can say is that businesses need to work with providers that offer support at times like this.  There is nothing worse than having a service that doesn’t work and then being kept in the dark as to why this is happening.

For those who don’t already know BIS = Blackberry Internet Service, BES = Blackberry Enterprise Service.

Business mobile connectivity security

Blackberry gets huge endorsment by Barack Obama

In the news is the fact that US President-elect Barack Obama wants to keep his Blackberry when he becomes president. This must be worth a fortune in advertising to Blackberry manufacturer RIM and indeed their share price seems to have risen quite healthily this week.

The secret service is of course concerned about the Presidential  email security and I will happily leave it to both parties to argue it out. What is of interest is why the Blackberry? Why not an alternative email device such as a PDA or Nokia Smartphone.

I used to have a Blackberry but moved onto Nokia, primarily because the Nokia E-Series had a SIP Stack that would allow me to play with VoIP on mobiles. The Nokia’s were more of a phone as well rather than a clunky data device.

The Blackberry has  moved on since then and a quick survey of the Tech Support team suggests that it now has the edge in terms of features and ease of use. There is now even  a Facebook plug-in for blackberry.

Certainly from a commercial perspective the mobile operators are doing a very good job at incentivising service providers to sell Blackberry as opposed to alternative mobile email solutions. 

What is really exciting is the pace of development in the mobile handset world. Competition is really working here driving features up and pricing down.

RIM 5 day stock performance courtesy of Yahoo Finance
RIM 5 day stock performance courtesy of Yahoo Finance